It would be a pretty fair bet to say every modern office or administration centre would contain many electrical appliances; from computers and printers to heaters, leads, powerboards, chargers etc and then some more in the staff kitchen area. All of these present an electric shock risk to the user and this must be considered under your OH&S plan.
Whilst the Standard AS/NZS 3760:2010 does make to reference to excluding some types of appliances, there is no specific reference to excluding office equipment.
In my travels, I find many offices automatically exclude all the electrical appliances from their test and tag program due to an incorrect interpretation of the requirements of the Australian Standard AS/NZS 3760 relating to the terms “fixed” and “stationary”. For an appliance to be deemed “fixed” it must be “…fastened to a support, secured in position or otherwise, due to its size and mass, located in a specific location… “. It is not very often I find computer systems bolted to a desk, so unless that was the case they would not be deemed to be fixed in position. For an appliance to be deemed “stationary”. it must have “… a mass exceeding 18 kg.“ Admittedly that’s a bit of a strange definition, however that’s what it is so unless you have original style desk top PCs and monitors from the 1970′s or early 80′s it is unlikely they will weight more than 18kgs.
Similarly, some offices exclude their offices due to the “non-hostile” nature of the environment. There is nothing in the Standard to support this. Table 4 of the Standard sets out some indicative retest intervals. Part of this references “Environment where the equipment or supply cord is NOT subject to flexing in normal use and is NOT open to abuse and is NOT in a hostile environment” and indicates a retest interval of 5 years can be applied.
A lot can happen over 5 years and most computers and other office appliances just dont seem to last that long these days, which means they are likely to fail during that period and there is a chance it could be due to an electrical fault. Most of the businesses my company services recognise this and have the office appliances tested and tagged every 2 or 3 years; this way they are being seen to be taking tangible steps to minimising any risk that may be present.
So if we are to go by what the Standard tells us, then there are no specific exclusions for office appliances or those used in non-hostile environments such as offices or administration centres.
This information is general in nature, should be used as a guide only and read in conjunction with the relevant Standard(s), State and/or Federal Legislation, Codes of Practice and Industry Standards specific to your workplace. A proper risk assessment should be under taken before acting on the information provided in this document or any related material. Further information can also be obtained from your local Workplace Authority, Electrical Safety Authority or a suitably qualified persons. This article is copyright protected.